Radio interview with Fifi, Fev and Byron - Fox FM Hit 101.9

Transcript
04 Oct 2017
Prime Minister
Las Vegas; Terrorism Laws; North Korea;
E&OE

FIFI BOX:

Prime Minister, welcome back to the show.

PRIME MINISTER:

Thank you very much. Great to be with you.

FIFI BOX:

Oh, it is, it’s great to have you, Mr Turnbull. And you know, we do still want to reflect on the horrible tragedy that happened in Las Vegas. The world is still reeling from that. And a lot of the conversation yesterday was and always is after one of these tragic events about gun control and the NRA look immovable on this. In your opinion, as a world leader on the other side of the world, do you think that they will ever get their heads around gun control and the NRA will back down?

PRIME MINISTER:

Well, Fifi, first, let me say again we mourn with America. Our hearts go out to the families of the victims and we pray that those who have been injured will have a swift recovery. It is such a shocking tragedy. It seems almost inconceivable that this could happen. It is a really, it is a real tragedy. Heartbreaking.

Look, turning to gun control – we are very fortunate in Australia and it is due to the leadership of John Howard 20 years ago that we have some of the strictest gun control laws in the world and we are certainly not going to weaken them ever, as you know. Will the gun laws change in the United States – it seems and intractable problem there, Fifi. Looking at it from the outside people like ourselves who are admirers of and friends of America who have spent a lot of time there, have got a lot of friends there, find it extraordinary that a private citizen could legally acquire military weapons. You know, I saw someone saying on the television last night here, they have no sporting utility, they are not designed for hunting or anything like that, they’re designed for soldiers to use to kill and why private citizens are allowed to buy them, from an Australian point of view, seems incredible.

BRENDAN FEVOLA:

Now, Malcolm, it’s Fev here – how ya going mate?

PRIME MINISTER:

I’m going well!

BRENDAN FEVOLA:

That’s good! That’s good! Now you touched on John Howard 20 years ago and we had a mass shooting in Port Arthur and then obviously our strong gun licence come in. Do you, I think you’ll probably be aware of this stat because you’re the PM, but there has been more mass murders, which is five or more people dying then days in the U.S. this year. Do you ring Trump up and say: ‘Mate, being a strong ally, this is what works in our country. You need to implement this in your country’? I think China has the same sort of laws as us. I think they’ve had like 13 murders by gun in the last two years which is a staggering stat and America just don’t want to follow.

PRIME MINISTER:

Well, look, the example of Australia is very well known in the United States. Whenever gun control issues come up and they do all the time because as you said there have been so many of these mass shootings, the advocates for stricter gun control in America point to Australia and say: ‘Look what the Aussies did 20 years ago and look at the impact that’s had on the reduction in gun crime. Why can’t we do it here?’ But there is a ferociously strong political lobby and the National Rifle Association but also millions of Americans who own guns and cherish their constitutional right to bear arms. But of course, the right to bear arms was, this was an 18th century concept long before people could acquire, or before automatic weapons were thought of, let alone invented.

FIFI BOX:

Now, Malcolm, I mean, this is the world we live in now isn’t it today? We are all terrified. You have incidents like this that remind us how scary it can be and terrorism is at top of mind. And you’re actually going to be asking the states to implement a uniform law where terror suspects will be detained for questioning without charge for up to 14 days which I fully endorse, and you’re holding a special counter-terror meeting tomorrow. Can you talk through what’s on that agenda? What laws could possibly be implement?

PRIME MINISTER:

Yes, I will, I will Fifi. My priority, my top priority is to keep Australians safe.

We are investing in our Defence Force’s capability. You saw yesterday with the big investments in our naval capability – but here at home every day we are seeking to improve our ability to protect Australians from terrorism and other threats of harm.

So, we have a big agenda with the premiers tomorrow and chief ministers. A key part of it is ensuring that we have a consistent approach to counter-terrorism across Australia. I mean, everybody is committed, we’re all on the same page in terms of our objectives, but it is important that we have consistent laws so that our police forces who work seamlessly together - both federal police, ASIO, state police in the joint counter-terrorism teams - have got consistent laws that enable them to arrest somebody, to hold them, to question them before they charge them.

We’ve made a lot of reforms. My government has made a lot of reforms to give the police the legal powers they need to keep us safe. I mean those powers for example we used recently in Sydney in the thwarting of the plot to blow up an aeroplane, this is Operation Silves with the two men that have been charged with planning to take a bomb onto an Etihad flight to the Middle East and of course also, were in the process of building a chemical dispersal bomb.

It is important that we constantly upgrade our laws, our resources, our level of cooperation, the support the ADF gives our police forces.

There’s no place for set and forget when it comes to national security.

BRENDAN FEVOLA:

Now Mr Prime Minister, one more from me. Do you have any nicknames for any world leaders at all?

(Laughter)

PRIME MINISTER:

You know, I don’t actually, no.

(Laughter)

BRENDAN FEVOLA:

Because there is one-

PRIME MINISTER:

Yeah what is that?

BRENDAN FEVOLA:

The Rocket Man - the Little Rocket Man.

FIFI BOX:

Don’t call him little!

PRIME MINISTER:

That’s right of course, that’s what Trump used to describe Kim-Jong Un.

BRENDAN FEVOLA:

Yes, do we have anything to worry about being an Australian resident with what’s going on with the Rocket Man?

PRIME MINISTER:

Well we certainly do. North Korea poses an enormous threat to peace and stability in our region and the world and that is why we are doing everything we can with the global community to increase the economic pressure on North Korea. 

You’ve seen now exports, one category of exports after another from North Korea is being blocked. Oil imports are being restricted. The really important thing is that China is playing a part in this.

Because clearly, we have, we’ve never had any form of extensive economic relationship with North Korea so our sanctions are not going to bite in the way that China’s are which is the dominant economic relationship.

FIFI BOX:

So probably calling him the Little Rocket Man is not going to help.

(Laughter)

BYRON COOKE:

Our position is not to call him Rocket Man. Can we just all-

PRIME MINISTER:

Well I’m not into name-calling but-

BRENDAN FEVOLA:

No nicknames?

PRIME MINISTER:

It’s a fair question and I’ve thought about it but I can’t think of any nicknames for world leaders which is-

BRENDAN FEVOLA:

Oh C’mon! C’mon MT. Get it out!

PRIME MINISTER:

Well I’ll have to – maybe I’ll have to think of a few but I probably shouldn’t share them on the radio.

BRENDAN FEVOLA:

Yeah fair enough.

BYRON COOKE:

Does Malcolm even have a nickname? I can’t recall. What’s your nickname?

BRENDAN FEVOLA:

Turns, Malcs, MT?

PRIME MINISTER:

I’ve never had a lot of nicknames, I mean-

FIFI BOX:

I get the feeling you’re not a fan of MT either.

(Laughter)

BYRON COOKE:

We should do a phone-in and give you a nickname!

BRENDAN FEVOLA:

What about the Bull?

PRIME MINISTER:

Yes, I’m sure they’ll all – well it’s a very Australian thing to have nicknames. In fact as someone, as a Malcolm, I’ve only very rarely been called Mal. I mean a lot of Malcolm’s are called Mal.

FIFI BOX:

Is that right?

PRIME MINISTER:

But mostly, most of my life I’ve been called Malcolm.

FIFI BOX:

Do you know what? Malcolm you’d never get a job on breakfast radio. If you can’t have a nickname you can’t do breaky radio!

(Laughter)

BYRON COOKE:

Well we really appreciate the Prime Minister’s time this morning. Always great access to this show and it is much appreciated. Thanks for your time Prime Minister.

PRIME MINISTER:

Thank you very much.

[ENDS]